• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Analysis: Cameron hopes changing of guard will keep him in Number 10

After the night of the long knives, it was the day of the tender handshakes as David Cameron changed the guard and put in place the team he hopes will convince voters to put him back in Downing Street next May.

William Hague's surprise resignation as Foreign Secretary meant that the ministerial shake-up is far more extensive than anyone had envisaged.

It seems clear that after four years of jetting here and there and having your day and night run by the Government machine, the former party leader has simply had enough and wants his life back.

Loading article content

Another intriguing surprise was the shift for Michael Gove, who, it seems, has during his radical time at the Education Department just made too many enemies among the teaching profession. No 10 was adamant that the Scot's move to become Chief Whip is not a demotion but it certainly feels like it. He will also lose a few thousand pounds as his salary goes from that of a Secretary of State to that of a Minister of State. No doubt as well as the teachers' unions, Home Secretary Theresa May, gave a wry smile at his move.

Be warned, Downing Street made clear that we can expect to see a lot more of Mr Gove on our TV screens as, like Mr Hague, he will be at the forefront of the Tory campaign.

He will now have the comfort of another Scottish Tory in the Cabinet with the appointment of the hard-nosed Michael Fallon as Defence Secretary. Expect a few more visits to Faslane and Rosyth in the run-up to September 18.

The appointment of Philip Hammond as Foreign Secretary has led to suggestions that Mr Cameron is preparing for his run-in with Europe on reform ahead of his promised in-out referendum. Mr Hammond famously suggested that, if the referendum were tomorrow, he would vote to leave the EU.

It did not take long for Alex Salmond to seize on this appointment, using it to play to an SNP referendum theme. The First Minister noted: "Philip Hammond's promotion to Foreign Secretary has put one hand on the exit door leading the UK out of the European Union."

One intriguing aspect of the changes was the move to Education of rising star Nicky Morgan, who, we are told, will also have the Equalities brief; which is intriguing given she voted against gay marriage.

But the overarching theme of the reshuffle is - out with the "pale , male and stale" ministers and in with the generation of 2010 and the introduction of more women around the Cabinet table.

The PM is now in pre-election mode, knowing that in the skirmishes ahead his government has to look and sound like the Britain he and his colleagues seek to represent.

The election test, of course, will not be how televisual people are but the strength of their policies and how they are put across.

And yet, there is a big test for the Coalition before then; saving the Union. We have heard little or nothing from some of the new Government members on why Scots should vote No.  

They will be expected to have their say and in doing so must observe the first rule of government - don't mess up.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

247593